A Hero in Blue

The Community Chronicle, December 2020

Every now and then I stumble upon a person so caring, so kind, and so extraordinary, that it makes me pause. I find myself unable to articulate what I am seeing. Why? Because it is in those astonishing moments that I realize that I am in the presence of an angel in human form.

At some time in our lives, many of us have commented that someone is the very personification of a heavenly being. In fact, it’s quite common to hear someone say, “What an angel!”

Imagine then how the idea of an angel walking the earth is a police officer. We all know how of late police forces nationwide have been berated in every way. Plus, many cities are defunding their police forces, which makes me wonder who are they going to call when someone accosts them, breaks into their homes, or threatens their lives?

This column is not about that, rather it heralds a man who takes his duty as a police officer in the Texas town of Lacy Lakeview beyond the job requirements. I first stumbled upon Officer Thomas Beasley when I read about him on a local Facebook post. It told the story of how a homeless man and his dog were trying to stay out of the rain near a business. Rather than do the humane thing and acknowledge that the man simply needed a place to stay dry, the business owner called the police. Lucky for the homeless man and his dog, Officer Thomas Beasley responded to the call. This good Samaritan in blue did not cite or arrest the man. Instead, he used his own money to pay for a motel room for the man and his dog, where they could stay the night out of the chilling cold and pelting rain. And while it would be easy to think that’s the only instance of his good heart, far from it. Turns out that wasn’t the only time he has paid for a motel room to assist someone needing a warm and safe place to stay for the night. He’s done it quite a few times. His personnel file is chock full of stories where he stepped up in ways you’d never expect.  

Take for example what happened in 2018 when Officer Beasley responded to a call that a 13-year-old boy’s bike had been stolen. While kids’ bikes frequently get stolen, what made this story so touching was that the boy had bought the bike with money he earned from mowing lawns. The kid worked really hard to earn the money to buy the bike and Officer Beasley understood that. Rather than simply writing up the report, Officer Beasley used his own money and bought the boy a new bike.  See what I mean? Officer Beasley is no ordinary person. This pattern of giving and giving back is nothing new; from an early age, he answered the call to duty.

In 1975, he joined the United States Navy, eventually reaching the rank of Senior Petty Officer. By the time he retired after 21 years in the service, he had been awarded numerous medals for Navy Achievement, Navy Commendation, Good Conduct, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. 

Beasley went on to attend McLennan Community College’s Law Enforcement Academy in Waco where he obtained his Texas Police Officer’s license from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. In mid-2010 he joined the Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Police Department. While serving at TSTC he pursued a Texas State certification for basic structure firefighting and aircraft fire rescue from the Fire Academy. Four plus years later he joined the Lacy Lakeview Police Department.

Clearly, Officer Beasley is a man with a strong sense of purpose, awareness, duty, and wisdom. He steps forward when and wherever he sees a need. Few people in the general public feel that sense of obligation and responsibility for helping a fellow human being. That’s what makes Officer Beasley so exceptional. His Chief of Police, John Truehitt, says “he has the heart of a Servant Leader and he does not seek nor does he want any recognition. He is the epitome of the vast number of Police Officers all across our great nation who do these and many more acts of kindness every day.”

He could have kicked back after retiring from the U.S. Navy and simply lived off his retirement. But he didn’t. He knew there were more ways to aid his fellow human beings; he knew that there were people who needed help. He has a calling, a sense of obligation to do more. I’ve met the man; he is incredibly humble and doesn’t desire any attention. He views what he does as normal, what anyone would do for another human being. I beg to differ. While I’m sure that he would argue my point of being an angel on earth, I stick with my opinion. And I am not alone. If there are angels among us, he is one of them.